Santa Ana bans persons convicted of sex offenses from parks

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Santa Ana has tightened restrictions on persons convicted of sex offenses, by expanding a 2006 law restricting access to parks and other facilities.

Under a 2006 ordinance, the city prohibits persons convicted of child sex offenses involving children from being within 300 feet of schools, daycare facilities and other designated children’s facilities.  Under the new law however, all registered sex offenders are included in the law.  Persons convicted of all sex offenses are now prohibited from entering any children’s facilities, parks, and other specified sites.  Persons who do so will be charged with misdemeanors.

In support of its new law, the city of Santa Ana cited data that apparently shows that convicted sex offenders are much more likely to repeat crimes than other types of felons.  That is highly debatable.  In fact, recidivism rates are much lower for persons convicted of sex offenses, than for persons convicted of other crimes like robberies and burglaries.  The recidivism rate for sex offenders is just about 5%.

Besides, it’s hardly likely that sex crimes will take place in a public place, like a park.

This fast-spreading trend of excluding persons convicted of sex offenses from recreational and public facilities is very worrying.  Over the past year, a number of California cities have enacted similar laws that prevent persons convicted of sexual offenses from accessing public parks, recreational grounds and other facilities.

Excluding people in this manner does nothing to reduce recidivism rates.  In fact, exclusionary policies like this only increase the chances that a person, who has been alienated from the rest of the community, commits another crime.